Monday, August 29, 2011

Fright Night, Fright Night, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Black Swan

Alright internet, lets get this ball rolling. I am finally done being a human pin-cushion, which is nice. I was a test subject in a  research project at UMass Amherst, wherein they worked my left leg until it was a useless noodle and then drew six vials of my blood for a week while tracking its healing progress. Needless to say, this kept me exhausted all week. Capping it off I started Seroquel a few days ago, so more reason to be tired. Having been tired for most of my adult life, this isn't too new though I guess.

Well, enough of the personal life updates, lets talk horror movies. A classic, a remake of the that classic, a structural reversal of an American slasher, and a modern blockbuster that took everyone by surprise. Sounds like fun, but I will keep my rambling to a minimum in the interest of catching up still.
Classic horror poster right here!
Fright Night is just one of those iconic 80's horror movies that you either grew up loving or you just missed the boat, so to speak. It has a master Vampire setting up shop next to our intrepid young hero and horror fan, and of course people start to go missing. Our hero begins to become suspicious and draws a bit too much attention to himself and those around him. Cue disaster and epic showdowns.

Its a fun movie, even now years later. Some of its moments are a bit strange, the sexual frustration of our teenage male hero because his teen Girlfriend won't put out is a bit creepy to watch, and more so when the aged vampire makes his advances on her as well. Sure hes an immortal creature of evil, but hes still being a bit of a pedophile at times with that thread. Otherwise the annoying friend, disbelieving parent, and washed up professional character types are timeless and enjoyable to watch.
"Maybe we should wait to have sex..."
It can slide into static moments of nothing going on at times, but tends to get back on task fast enough. The final showdown in a mansion of the undead is intense and very watchable, but toward the final moments can drag on. The master vampire takes a whole lot of abuse before finally falling, and they smash more windows then any basement should reasonably have. Its a classic movie, and any fan of the genre would be remiss to not have seen this at least once.

You can imagine, seeing just how classic it is, that I was a bit hesitant to see the Fright Night remake. I shouldn't have been, because it may actually be better then the original in many ways. The character updates make for a much tighter movie in the end. The annoying friend is no longer annoying, but rather a sympathetic figure who was abandoned by his friend. Our hero is a geek looking to find more social acceptance, and so his friend is shunned and ostracized as sacrifice for the position.
He is so awesome in this, you have no idea.
When his former friend comes to him for help and starts the suspicion for our hero, it actually personalizes the future action so much better. The friends acceptance of the vampires offer is directly the fault of the hero, rather then being merely something that happens. It raises the stakes much more efficiently. All the characters are effectively upgraded really, and unnecessary ones are dropped. Its just a tighter more focused story all around.

The best upgrades through and through are David Tennant and Colin Farrell, as the vampire slayer and the master vampire, respectively. Farrell brings such a smug and powerful presence with him in every scene he is in. He makes for one imposing and hypnotically likable master vampire. As great as he is though, no one compares to Tennant's performance as an egocentric and drunk coward of the occult. He steals every scene he is in with ease, even when all hes doing is complaining about the effects of leather pants on ones balls. Again, the character is improved upon the original by changing his motivation from that of a wash-up to one of a running coward with personal investment in the situation.
Gotta have faith.
If you are a fan or not of the original is irrelevant, this movie is just a damn good time anyone can enjoy. I saw it in 3D, but I also didn't have a choice in the matter. The 3D was fine, not too distracting, and only campy in a few select locations. I still tend to hate 3D, so see whichever you prefer.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a movie I have been consistently excited about for so very long. I think its been close to a year since I first saw previews for this movie, and I'm so happy it finally got some distribution. The wait was worth it, because its every bit as amazing as I had hoped it would be.
Hunt this down and see it, you will thank me.
We have covered a number of movies where some teens enter some backwoods and find terrible fates at the hands of some hillside hicks/mutants. Its basically horror movie Americana, if your in the backwoods, then you are also within five miles of a murderous killer, almost certainly one with a red neck. Tucker and Dale is all about spinning that on its head, reversing the expectations. The backwoods rednecks are the heroes, and they are just trying to enjoy the good life in a summer home by a lake.

Of course the necessary truck full of teens arrives and think they are creepy killers right off the bat. When one of the girls almost drowns, Tucker saves her and brings her back to their cabin, leading the teens to believe they are going to kill her. They then begin hilariously disastrous rescue attempts, which always end in their own deaths. Teens hurl themselves into wood-chippers due to mistimed tackles, impale themselves on branches while running away, and shoot themselves because guns are confusing.
"Officer, these kids have been killin' themselves all over my property!"
It all culminates in a very fun reveal you would expect in a movie like this, "my god, I'm related to the killer!," style moment. The most aggressive teen becomes our disfigured killer in the final moments, and its up to our redneck heroes save the girl. The writing is witty and filled with little nods to the forefathers of the genre, the deaths are all hilarious and well done, and the pacing is spot on.

This movie loves the genre, and it shows. Its a brilliant horror comedy, and its damn well worth your time to watch. Check it out.
More to it then a lesbian sex scene.
Black Swan made a great deal of noise this last award season, and for good reason what with Darren Aronofsky directing it. Tricking everyone by calling itself a psychological thriller instead of a horror film, it took everyone by surprise. First of all, this movie is incredibly beautiful. The cinematography is masterfully done, every scene is composed in just the right ways, and draws exactly what it needs out of you.

On some levels, I love Black Swan as much as I do for personal reasons. The anxiety and paranoia that comes with passion can be terrifying. The need to do one thing perfectly can be all consuming, and the breakdown of reality can be subtle and damaging. Then you add in the outside world, the pressures of family, the scrutiny of those better then you, and the fear of being replaced can tear you apart at the seams. The movies subtle growth from merely unstable to unhinged when it comes to our protagonist is well done to say the least.
Those of you with anxiety and sleep disorders know how scary this can be.
Minor background objects distort at first, and soon you and the star are both unsure if what you just saw was real or not. By the end you don't even know which characters are real, what has actually happened, or just how sick this drive is making our protagonist. With light touches of the surreal and more then a few toes dipped in the outright horror pool with mocking pictures and paintings pushing our heroine deeper into madness, its a trip of a movie.

Of course all this self destruction builds to a head, and we end with the strangest production of swan lake you could imagine. I love Darren Aronofsky, so I of course suggest this to anyone who likes the stranger end of the movie spectrum, where your never quite certain whats going on.
She must be, like, so high.
I will now resume being forever tired and trying to keep my head above the water. For more reviews and the full list of movies: The 150 Days of Halloween.


  1. Keep up the great posts! I love a good horror flick, especially at this time of year. I gotta check out "Tucker & Dale". On a side note, careful with that Seroquel, Eugene. Made me walk into walls more than once.

  2. great post
    i like your blog (:

  3. For me, Black Swan is one of the best films I've ever seen. Probably because Tchaikovsky is one of my favourite composers.

  4. Thats a whole lot of horror bro.

  5. tucker and dale vs evil was amazing. def a winner

  6. Black Swan was good, I haven't seen the others.